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New Years Eve, Alcohol Intake, and How it Affects Weight and Performance in the Mountains

After July 4th, Americans consume the most alcohol between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve with the latter accounting for a large majority of that statistic.

The point of this isn’t to be the bearer of bad news or to suck the fun out of your holiday. It’s to give you some simple tips and strategies to follow if you’re interested in having a drink without it sabotaging your efforts with training or weight-based goals.

Here’s a few interesting facts you might not have known:

  1. Alcohol is the only place calories come from that doesn’t serve any purpose from a performance standpoint. It is not a sugar or a carb in and of itself. It is it’s own group.

  2. Alcohol is one of the most energy-dense things we can take in (second only to fat).

  3. Part of the calories in alcohol is “burned up” almost immediately through digestion”. The other (larger part) is absorbed.

Here’s a few strategies to ensure you enter 2022 with a leg up on your nutrition and performance goals if you do choose to have alcohol this NYE:

  1. It’s always the dose that makes the poison. Small amounts have minimal-to-no effect on performance or body composition goals/changes.

  2. Large amounts have dramatic effects by reducing muscle building, the conversion of food into usable energy and poorer aerobic (cardiovascular) performance.

  3. Based on 1 and 2, it’s probably safe for most folks to keep drinks between 1-2/day.

  4. Focus on protein and veggies to “make room” for the calories in drinks. This helps keep calories low, but combats the ill-effects of alcohol on energy-conversion and muscle building.

  5. When tracking, focus on overall calorie intake more than macros. If you ARE going to manipulate macronutrients, use the alcohol drinks as a “substitute” for fat or carbs- never protein.

Whether you’re among the 60% of folks who do have a drink on NYE or the 40% who opt not to, I hope you have a GREAT New Year with friends and family!

PIcture: This is an image from week 10 in our 16 week-nutrition course. It dives deeper into the topic, but the five takeaways here are the gist!


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